Back on August 7, ICE agents raided a large chicken processing plant in Mississippi and took into custody some 680 persons suspected of being in the United States illegally. Now federal indictments have been returned against at least 80 of the illegals on charges of document fraud, false claim to U.S. citizenship, and misuse of a Social Security number.
An ICE official tells CR that “just on Tuesday, 40 indictments were issued in the Southern District of Mississippi for document fraud, false claim to U.S. citizenship, and misuse of a Social Security number.” He estimated that “a similar number of indictments were issued on Monday” and that they were all related to the Koch Foods enforcement operation.
About 680 undocumented immigrant workers were detained earlier this month at plants across Mississippi in the largest single-state immigration enforcement operation in history. The detentions left friends, neighbors and, in some instances, strangers to temporarily care for the crying children of workers after the first day of school.
Two weeks later, nearly 40 workers have been indicted on charges ranging from illegal re-entry to misuse of social security numbers, according to court documents.
Earlier this evening I posted on CNN using a demonstrably fake story to slander ICE medical staff. In that story, a woman named Maria Domingo-Garcia accused ICE of keeping her in detention even though she was needed at home to breastfeed a 4-month-old. As it turns out, she was one of the indicted illegals.
Remember Maria Domingo-Garcia – the illegal alien mother who claimed to be breastfeeding a baby and got the media to shed tears on her behalf? Not only did ICE confirm she was not lactating, but it turns out that far from being a sympathetic victim, she actually victimized an American citizen or legal immigrant with identity theft.
Yesterday, Domingo-Garcia was indicted by a grand jury on two counts of ID theft and documentation fraud. The unsealed indictment, which was signed by a federal magistrate in the Southern District of Mississippi, charges Domingo-Garcia with knowingly obtaining a stolen Social Security card to gain employment at the Koch Foods plant in Norton, Mississippi, and falsely representing the identity of that number to obtain benefits.
This kind of enforcement action is long overdue. In order to work in most businesses, a job applicant has to complete an I-9 form and submit some documentation, specifically they need a Social Security card. There is a huge market in fraudulent documents generated by illegal workers and it really isn’t a joke. It took this Bloomberg reporter six years to unscrew the damage done to him by an illegal using his social security number.
What will probably happen is that these people will enter a guilty plea and be deported. The felony rap will prevent them from ever living here legally again and will subject them to real penalties if they come back.
CNN makes a good point that it is very rare that an employer is prosecuted. There is a good reason for that. While the employee has to verify that the social security number is theirs, making the “knowingly” part of the charge easy to prove, employers are basically required to accept documentation at face value. If they receive a no-match letter from the Social Security Administration they are not allowed to investigate or to use the letter for any personnel action. In fact, a wise employer will do nothing because to do something opens you to a wide variety of potential legal difficulties.
Much like the drug problem, we’re addressing illegal immigration strictly on the supply side and not on the demand side. States are basically powerless to act after Arizona vs. United States and that is the only way to effectively manage the demand. So while it might not seem fair, the federal government has few tools to use against employers and a lot to use against the employees. Maybe mass prosecutions of this kind will serve as the catalyst to bring some accountability to the demand side of the equation.